I find money fascinating. It drives our culture, most of us have a rudimentary understanding of our relationship with it, and we rarely ever talk about it.
One book I read, “Your Money or Your Life“, has a fascinating thesis on what money really is at the highest level. The authors postulate that money is not just “backed” by gold, it is not just a currency, it is not just a means to an end (though it can be all those things). Rather, they argue, money is the physical representation of our life’s energy.
In other words, when I make an impulse buy, of say, this Vitamin Water I am currently drinking, my purchase is saying that I am okay paying a certain amount of my life energy for it, given the fact that I was damn thirsty. If the reward (of quenching my thirst) is greater than the cost of my life energy, then we’re all good. If not, that was a poor purchase.
It may sound new-agey, but it makes sense. We work for our money. Work takes time. We’ve heard “time is money.” Well, this just flips it: “money is time.” Your time. My time.
When I think about money in this capacity, I find that I tend to make decisions that I’m happier with financially, because beyond considering if something is “worth it”, I consider if something is worth spending my energy on.